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Thursday News: Laws? What laws?

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TOM FETZER UNDER SCRUTINY FOR CAMPAIGN FUNDRAISER TEXT: “I’m putting together a fundraiser for John Bell the night before the Garden Party on Thursday, April 8 from 5:30-7 at the Cape Fear Club (Men’s Club),” Fetzer’s text message said. “As Tim Moore has stated he is not seeking another term in the House, John is the odds on favorite to be Speaker in 2023. We’ll be having dinner at Quanto Bosso across the street immediately following. Please let me know if you can join us.” State law prohibits lobbyists from holding fundraisers or soliciting contributions for lawmakers during legislative sessions. It also prohibits them from making contributions or collecting them at any time. “I dictated the text into my phone and just sent it,” Fetzer said. “And I didn’t spell check it or anything so I think it just, the transmission got garbled. I wouldn’t have intentionally sent that.” Well at least he didn't blame it on autocorrect.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250152705.html

Wednesday News: Bigotry, by any other name

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NC REPUBLICANS PUSH TRANSGENDER SPORTS BILL: On the fifth anniversary of state lawmakers passing HB2, Republican legislators gathered again at the North Carolina General Assembly to push a new bill involving transgender people. “This bill seeks to promote an absolute truth, which is that gender identity at birth counts,” said Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Duplin County Republican, during a press conference Tuesday. The “Save Women’s Sports Act” would keep transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams in school. It’s unclear if that has happened in North Carolina, although the N.C. High School Athletic Association has a framework in place to allow for it. This bill, however, would put a stop to that. “It’s beyond disheartening to see that the North Carolina General Assembly has not learned the lessons of five years ago,” Rebby Kern, the education policy director at Equality NC, said in a press release.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250144464.html

Tuesday News: Here we go again...

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SENATE REPUBLICANS PUSH FOR ANOTHER TAX CUT, $1.8 BILLION THIS TIME AROUND: Senate GOP leaders plan to push legislation that would decrease the state's income tax rate of 5.25% to 4.99% next year, according to Sen. Paul Newton, a Cabarrus County Republican and finance committee co-chairman. “We have yet another year of excess revenues and we are going to be proposing to the rest of the legislature and the governor that we reduce taxes as a result,” Newton told the AP. “We have incredible headroom because of the economic growth and prosperity in North Carolina." Senate Republicans endorsed a tax package proposed by Newton in a caucus meeting late Monday, according to Lauren Horsch, a spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger. The soon-to-be-filed bill is likely to advance through the chamber, then get incorporated into the Senate GOP’s state budget proposal that could surface in late April.
https://www.wral.com/nc-senate-republicans-to-pitch-more-state-tax-reductions/19589140/

Monday News: Eleven thousand, eight hundred twenty

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POSITIVE TESTS FOR CORONAVIRUS IN NC APPROACH 900,000: At least 895,263 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 11,820 have died since last March, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,034 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 1,915 reported on Friday. At least 964 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Saturday, down from 970 on Friday. As of Thursday, the latest date for which data are available, 4.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. More than 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in North Carolina, and more than 1.4 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article250102129.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VIRGINIA MOVES AHEAD OF NORTH CAROLINA, AGAIN: Repeatedly over the last decade congressional and legislative districts have been declared illegal and legislators have been forced to redraw them. It has been a needless cycle that denied North Carolinians the voice they deserve in Washington and Raleigh. The remedy, adoption of a nonpartisan system for drawing legislative and congressional districts, is way past due. It is a proven workable solution that has strong support from voters – 59% according to a recent statewide survey. Four of North Carolina’s former governors, two Republicans and two Democrats, have called on the courts to mandate the state implement “an open, transparent, and non-partisan process.” This year a 16-member commission of citizens and legislators -- equally divided between Democrats and Republicans – will redraw Virginia’s districts when the 2020 Census count is finalized.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-virginia-ahead-of-north-carolina-again/19577717/

Saturday News: Plotting insurrection

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NC PROUD BOY RAN COMMUNICATIONS FOR CAPITOL ATTACKERS: The indictment says that after Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was arrested in Washington on Jan. 4, on charges stemming from an earlier rally, Donohoe expressed concern that encrypted communications that involved Tarrio would be compromised. Prosecutors say Donohoe created a new channel on the encrypted messaging application and took steps to destroy or “nuke” the earlier one. The evening of Jan. 4, prosecutors say, Donohoe then posted on the new channel and other messaging boards that he had been told that planning needed to stop. “Everything is compromised and we can be looking at Gang charges,” he wrote, according to the indictment. “This comes from the top.” By the next day, on the eve of the protest, prosecutors say the Proud Boys had created a new messaging channel called “Boots on the Ground” that they could use in Washington. Eventually more than 60 members did communicate that way, including Donohoe.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250062049.html

Friday News: If not now, when?

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JAY CHAUDHURI RE-INTRODUCES NC HATE CRIME BILL AFTER ATLANTA SHOOTINGS: "If we wish to pursue a perfect union in this state, then we must confront and take on the often dark and ugly side of our democracy," said Chaudhuri, who has sponsored each of the last two bills and is behind this one as well. "Responding to hate crimes must be a priority because they impact all of us," agreed Sen. Mujtaba Mohammed, D-Mecklenburg. "Hate crimes not only have an impact on one victim, but they also terrorize and isolate a victim’s whole community, and that weakens public safety for all of us." The bill would increase the punishment for any crime if it's determined a person was targeted because of his or her "race, ethnicity, color, religion, nationality, country of origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, or sexual orientation." It also would create a statewide database of such crimes – reporting hate crimes by law enforcement agencies is currently voluntary, but it would become mandatory – and provide more training for law enforcement officers and district attorneys to respond to and prosecute cases.
https://www.wral.com/in-wake-of-atlanta-shootings-nc-lawmakers-again-pursue-hate-crime-bill/19582121/

Thursday News: Not so proud now, are you?

WINSTON-SALEM PROUD BOY ARRESTED FOR ATTACK ON CONGRESS: Charles Donohoe of Winston-Salem has been charged with conspiring to interfere with law enforcement officers at the Capitol and to obstruct the certification of President Biden’s election victory in Congress that day, according to The Times. The Times reported that FBI agents arrested Donohoe and another Proud Boys member from Philadelphia as part of a widening investigation that now includes 13 people identified in court papers as members of the Proud Boys. The right-wing group has been associated with protests organized by white supremacists and is designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Donohoe is at least the eighth North Carolina resident who has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, The Charlotte Observer reported.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article250007859.html

Wednesday News: Power play

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REPUBLICANS IN LEGISLATURE PUSH TO CURB GOVERNOR'S EMERGENCY AUTHORITY: This isn’t the first time Republican lawmakers have tried to use legislation to force Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to get agreement from the rest of the Council of State, which is majority Republican, for some executive orders. House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell, a Wayne County Republican, told reporters last week that this bill “is not about reopening, or anything dealing with masks.” Rather, he said, it is about how one person should not have unilateral control. Rep. Keith Kidwell, a Chocowinity Republican and deputy majority whip, is the primary sponsor of the House bill. In the summer of 2020, Kidwell made clear what he though of Cooper’s orders, saying on the House floor that he wouldn’t follow the statewide mask mandate no matter what the governor said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article248778990.html

Tuesday News: That was quick...

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CORONAVIRUS DETECTED ON FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL IN DURHAM: Durham Public Schools will close three classrooms at Southwest Elementary School after two students tested positive for COVID-19, the district reported. The students in the classrooms, as well as students who rode Bus 185 Monday afternoon, will need to stay home for remote learning for 10 days. DPS is working with the Durham County Department of Public Health and will reach out to any individuals who may have come in close contact with the students, according to a district news release. DPS is offering four days of in-person instruction to elementary students, and will soon offer four days of in-person classes to middle and high school students under new legislation.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article249970299.html

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